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Write It 2017: 11-14s: Highly Commended: Sea Salt and Vinegar

Write It 2017: 11-14s: Highly Commended: Sea Salt and Vinegar Lily Barkes (19/06/2017)

No matter if they are sharp tongued or a Plain Jane, any mother is a goddess in my eyes, just as long as she is walking down Shore Road towards the beach, holding two white, steaming, plastic carrier bags.

Summer isn’t summer without going to East Wittering beach with your friends and a trip to the beach absolutely has to include chips from the Boulevard Café for tea. Chips and the seaside: the perfect partnership.

It is a tradition that we come here during the last days of the summer term. Our day starts and ends earlier than any of the other local schools. This means we can have almost a full afternoon on ‘our’ beach. It also means that one of our mums will always be first in the queue for chips!

When we see the goddess-mother approaching with her precious load, we run as fast as we can from the water’s edge to our soggy towels at the top of the shingle. The sand and pebbles scratch and spike my feet, but I do not care.

The moment when those chips are handed to me is simply joyous. Eagerly, I tear off the paper and open the polystyrene box. I can almost see the heat rising from the crispy beauties!

I can’t think of any other food that looks, smells or tastes more appealing. Chunky, golden, covered in salt and drenched in vinegar, you could offer me afternoon tea at the Ritz or churros dipped in chocolate sauce in sunny Spain and I would still choose chips on East Wittering beach.

Balanced on my lap, the comforting warmth of my deep fried tea sinks into my chilled limbs; just what I need after hours in the sea. I pull out the first chip. The heat and flavour explodes in my mouth. The moment is perfect.

Sharing jokes and stories as we feast, Seagulls scream overhead. Flapping and diving, they are demanding leftovers, but even the last vinegar-soaked scraps are heavenly. Tough luck gulls!

The day starts to fade. The sun drops slowly into the sea, replaced by a riot of colours streaking the sky. Oranges, purples, pinks, and yellows fill the horizon and wrap themselves around the Isle of Wight like Joseph’s coat. The sea is calmer than it was an hour ago, as if it too is ready for bed.

We say our goodbyes and head for the carpark. As we drive home along the backroads I feel my eyelids drooping. It has been a brilliant afternoon.

Yawning, I smile and lick my lips. I can still taste the salt from my chips. Or is it from the sea? 


Author: Lily Barkes Email:

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